Free Spiritís ( Al's )

Appalachian Trail Journal

Amicalola Falls - Springer Mt. GA to

I 40 Davenport Gap, At the TN - NC border (Part 7)

 

Dates ........ Saturday, April 20, 2002
Miles ........ 7.6 mi Approach +7.6 AT miles = 15.2 Miles total
From ........ Top of Amicalola Falls to Springer Mt. GA
To ............. Hawk Mountain Shelter
Weather ... Partly cloudy, breezy, 70 degF, warmed to 78, very humid.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Snowbird Mt (4263'), FAA tower

There was a lot of activity at Amicalola Falls State park. Fishermen, sightseers, campers and hikers seemed to be everywhere. We got a map of the park and drove to the top of the falls, where John dropped me off. Briefly, we checked out the falls, and then I unloaded my gear. I said my good-byes and headed off on my adventure.

The sun was coming through the haze and it was hot. I knew I was in for hot, humid hiking day since there were practically no leaves on the trees to provide shade. The trail was a mild grade, mostly uphill. I chatted with two college students camped along the trail. At the base of Springer, I met two day hikers with two dogs: Randy and Jim with Elvis and Willey. We hiked to the summit together.

It was a very crowded, festive atmosphere at the summit. Young and old, men, women, children, dogs. Everyone (myself included) had to pose by the plaque and the AT's official "First (for northbounders) blaze. It was so hazy, it was hard to define any features beyond the base of the mountain. I had Lunch with Randy and Jim and then pushed on shortly after noon. I reached Springer Mt. Shelter around 1 in the afternoon. It was my first scheduled stop but it was way too early to quit hiking. I decided to hike another 2.5 miles to the next shelter and reached it a little after 2 PM. Still too early and too full of energy to quit, I kept going.

Free Spirit and other hikers at Springer Mountain, GA. The FIRST BLAZE and plaque mark the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.

I met a young couple just starting out on a through-hike. They had all the wrong clothes and way too much of the wrong gear. I had serious doubts they would get very far. Later, I heard one of them had their pack stolen by a black bear and they had to get off the trail and re-supply.

As I descended into a valley, I saw a young man sitting, resting on a log over a stream crossing. It looked so cool, refreshing and inviting I joined him. He was Dan, from Michigan. We talked for a while then decided to hike together to Hawk Mountain Shelter. Another group of day hikers came by and filled up on water. I met another would-be through-hiker. She had been dropped off and started her hike 0.9 miles north of Springer Mt., where a fire road crosses the trail. She did not bother backtracking to Springer and was not going to. If you are going to through-hike the AT, you have to start at the beginning.

Dan and I took the short blue-blaze side trail to Long Creek Falls. Full of spring runoff, they were very impressive. When we reached Hawk Mountain shelter it was full of Boy Scouts. I set up my tent-camped nearby, Dan hung his tent-hammock. I was already a full day ahead of schedule. The boys were well behaved and all was peaceful and quiet, until the camp was buzzed at 1 A.M. by a low-flying Army Helicopter. After listening to barred owls call from mountain to mountain, peace, quiet and sleep were restored.

Dan "the goat" at Long Creek Falls

 

Daily Journal Entries

~ Journal Part 7 ~

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04/24/02 04/26/02 04/27/02
05/05/02 05/06/02 05/07/02 05/08/02 05/09/02 05/10/02 05/11/02
05/12/02            

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